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How can I get a better understanding on AP U.S History?

I am struggling to understand this course in my school. I would like tips to find ways to build my knowledge so I can pass my AP exam that I will be taking soon .

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Molly’s Answer

I can certainly relate to your experience with this exam! Firstly, I would like to commend you on taking up this course and challenging yourself!

When it comes to studying history, comprehending the narratives and stories behind the events is often more effective than solely memorizing dates. For instance, understanding that the "Whiskey Rebellion" occurred as a result of the newly formed US Congress grappling with taxation in the aftermath of the American Revolution is more accessible than remembering the years 1776 and 1794, corresponding to the American Revolution and the Whiskey Rebellion, respectively.

I recommend identifying your preferred learning style. I personally prefer auditory learning, and during my AP Exam preparation, I found audiobooks particularly helpful. Some of the books I listened to include "Guns, Germs & Steel" by Jared Diamond, "1776" by David McCullough, and "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. When an essay question on Lewis & Clark appeared in my exam, I was thrilled!

If you're a fan of podcasts, numerous excellent options are available. Upon conducting a quick search, I found several that might be beneficial for you:

1. The American History Podcast: Covering an extensive array of American history topics ranging from the colonial era to present day, this podcast is hosted by historian Joe Coohill and offers thorough discussions and analyses of critical events and figures in American history.

2. BackStory: Providing a unique angle on American history, this podcast delves into the ways historical events and concepts continue to influence modern society. Each episode, hosted by a team of historians, focuses on a specific theme or subject, such as immigration, religion, or technology.

3. Ben Franklin's World: Centered around early American history, particularly the colonial period, this podcast is hosted by historian Liz Covart, with each episode featuring interviews with experts and a focus on various facets of early American life.

4. The History Chicks: Concentrating on the lives of women throughout history, including many prominent American figures, this podcast is hosted by Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider. Each episode offers a biographical snapshot of a different woman, exploring her life and accomplishments.

5. Presidential: Furnishing a comprehensive overview of the US presidency, from George Washington to Donald Trump, this podcast is hosted by Washington Post columnist Lillian Cunningham. Each episode highlights a different president, delving into their lives and legacies.

My final piece of advice is to seek assistance from your teacher and familiarize yourself with the essay question framework. When you're comfortable with the structure of responding to these questions, you'll undoubtedly excel in your exam!

Molly recommends the following next steps:

Understand your style of learning
Take advantage of books, podcasts, youtube, etc.
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Jerry’s Answer

This is a very difficult problem. In my opinion, it depends upon the individual and their basic interests.

I'm not sure why you decided to take AP history. I'm not at all sure you have an interest in history. Especially since you're having trouble. If you have a real interest in history, I'm really confused. If you decided to "tick it off your list" re college/university, and are now having problems, you, in my opinion, made a bad choice. Especially this late in the game.

You have the wrong person answering this, as I have always had an extreme interest in history. I see the "players" as real people. Have empathy and try to get inside their heads and their circumstances.

As a young person, I vividly remember reading a set of eight historical fiction novels based upon the Civil War. Four from each side. Learned a lot of history from that period and lived it in my mind.

I see nothing in your query that denotes that sort of interest.

While I am not happy that you're in the position you are in, there is not much I can offer. Without the innate interest, you have a hard struggle ahead. (Not that that is a necessarily a bad thing.)

Read the other comments to your plite. There are many very good suggestions for someone in your position,

Again, take a serious look at what others have written. Very good advice. And a lot of work.
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Trudi’s Answer

Have you considered getting a tutor or talking to someone who previously took the class and did well on their exam? You could also reach out to a local college in their history department to see if there might be a student there willing to help.
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Lorraine’s Answer

Julie,
Practice with previous exams. Take practice exams, and spend time analyzing your answers to understand your strengths and weaknesses. This step will help you assess your progress, and adjust your study style approach accordingly. Also, invest plenty of time in studying the textbook. Ensure that you take the time to read the material carefully and take good notes. You might also want to see if your school offers tutoring services.

From my personal experience as a student, if I struggled with a class I set up a meeting with my instructor to get help and recommendations.
Best of luck!
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Britni’s Answer

My suggestion is to purchase a prep book online that has all the material can concepts that you need to know to prepare for the exam. Taking practice exams can really help you as well, for repetition is important for learning. Plus, when you do this, you can review the questions that you got incorrect and make sure to know why you got the question wrong! I've found that watching review videos on YouTube is helpful too :)
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